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English 212
2002 First Paper
On Serendip

Sex and Polite Conversation

Anonymous Writer1

Sex and Polite Conversation
Sex. Can you possibly think if a juicier topic? One that everyone can universally relate? However, in many circles it is taboo to speak of it, or it is necessary to dress it up and hide it so that it can become suitable for "polite conversation." One of these circles, (that I know well, having been raised within it) is that of the baby-boom generation's Catholic women.

Telephone conversation:
Mother: Hello dear, how was your day?
Daughter: Alright, I called Dad today.
Mother: REALLY? You haven't called him since you moved out? How did that go? Are you all right?
Daughter: Actually, it went pretty good. I've come to terms with what he did... I just needed him to know I don't think he's a pervert anymore.
Mother: Oh really? I wish you could help me with it. I do not know how.
Daughter: Well, I don't approve about the way he did know...the big old secret and lying and such...but...I mean...if that's what he's into...whatever.
Mother: I do not know how you can say that. When your father and I had relations, before things began going bad between us, THAT was to be intimate with each other. This is just lust. It is the devil...and he brought it into our home.
Daughter: Well...what if things were good between the two of you and he had brought some pornography to bed for the two of you to look at foreplay. Would you still think it was evil?
Mother: Yes! That is lust. Lust does not belong in a marriage. A marriage is holy and blessed by God...the point of relations between a man and women who are married and love each other is to procreate and be intimate with each other. Lust does not belong in that sort of relationship.
Daughter:'re supposed to WANT sex with your husband right? I mean...didn't you ever look at him and just think "damn he's got a hot bod...I want him now" (giggles)
Mother: NO! That is horrible. Intimacy between husband and wife is not what the media portrays it. That is evil. Intimacy is loving. There is no lust...and if a baby results it's a blessing. Relations are strictly between a man and women in a natural way...and nothing else belong in bed with them.
Daughter: So...I'm just wondering...I guess you don't believe in sex toys either?
Mother: Goodness no! Those are selfish things. They have no place in the marriage bed.... I certainly hope you are not starting to do any experimenting!
Daughter: Can't I have a conversation with my mother about sex?
Mother: Yes, of course dear...but your father just walked in...we had better change the subject. How's the weather there?

The above dialogue is a (mostly) fictional example of the language that older catholic women us to express sex. Notice the use of "relations" and "intimacy" in place of more "vulgar" or blunt words. The mother never actually says "pornography" or "sex." Her strong religious beliefs influence the way she talks about things. I am sure that this is even more open than she would ever consent to talk with anyone else since it is her daughter. Thus, language is influenced by belief and moral upbringing.

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